The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Wedding DJ
Finding the perfect wedding DJ doesn't have to be a daunting task. After all this is supposed to be the FUN part of putting your event together! Asking the right questions and knowing what you are looking for is key! So before we begin, you need to do some homework to get clear. Start by thinking about the weddings and events you have been to, and write down what you liked about what the DJ did, didn't do, etc. Get a good idea down on paper of what you want and don't want for your event. This way you can ask better, more specific questions and get a much better result, faster!
1. Experience and Expertise
Top thing you want to look for is a DJ who specializes in weddings! Weddings are VERY different than bars, clubs and raves. So while you may want a club/bar/rave feel or experience, that doesn't mean you need to hire a bar/club DJ to get it. Not only can a professional wedding DJ provide that experience, they come with additional skills and expertise specifically required for weddings. Things like, communication skills, customer service skills, professional public speaking skills and thousands of wedding hours. So okay, your cousin, uncle, friend might be a DJ, but are they the professional you need for your wedding? That is the better question to ask.
2. Music Database
Streaming music for commercial purposes goes against the majority of the big streaming platforms TOS (terms of service). What happens when there is no internet access at your venue? Not to mention the DJ doesn't actually own any music that is streamed. Make sure that your DJ is not streaming their music and has bought and paid for a wide range of music for you and your guests to choose from. Including, but not limited to, your preferred genre, top releases, older classics and more, to cater to the various age groups and guests at your wedding. Music is king to a DJ, their life blood if you will, their collection will tell you a lot about them.
3. The Gear
If the music is king, than the gear is our queen! Your DJ should own high-quality equipment as well as backup equipment to guarantee a quality service. Ask about their sound system, lighting, and any other technical equipment that they will use on your event. Make sure they own their equipment! This is important as rental equipment is not treated very well overall. Rental gear can have unknown issues spring up, or settings enabled that the DJ could be unable to remedy in a timely manner, or at all during the event. Investing in owning their own gear as well as knowing it capabilities and condition inside-out, sets professionals apart from the weekend warriors.
4. Communication Skills
An excellent wedding DJ is able to communicate well and work closely with you to ensure that they understand your vision and music preferences. This includes responding to your emails and phone calls in a timely manner. It also includes communicating and interacting with your guests. Being able to communicate with a large amount of people with different music tastes, backgrounds and even ethnicities is a skill largely lacking in today's service industry. Look for a DJ who makes you feel heard, understood and accommodated and you can safely assume they will make your guests feel the same.
It can be difficult to not judge a book by its cover. Looks can be deceiving. So look for a DJ who is professional in their behavior, and conduct. They should be punctual, responsive, and have a good reputation within the industry. Ask your venue for a list of their preferred vendors. Ask your venue and even current vendors if they have worked with this DJ, or company before and what is their reputation is like within the industry. Remember, good, bad, or even unknown, nothing on this list should be a make it, or break it for you. You are just gathering information so as to get down to your top 3 picks by the end of this list. That's all.
6. Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials from past client's experiences will give you a really great idea of the DJ's past performance and customer service. Keep in mind that people are more likely to leave a bad review than a positive one, meaning those positive ones must of had an impact! Bad reviews happen, remember that you can't please everyone. The longer someone is in business and the more business they do, the more likely it is they will run into someone they just couldn't please. When reading reviews, you'll get a good sense of which reviews are which.
Make sure you sign a contract!! Looking over your DJ's contract and TOS will offer you yet another glimpse into their experience and professionalism. The contract should outline their services, fees, the date of services and any other terms and conditions that they may have. It should also lay out their responsibilities and your responsibilities. The writing should be clear and concise leaving little to no room for interpretation. If your DJ doesn't have a fairly substantial contract, or terms of service this might be a red flag for a service based company. Contracts are literal mutual understandings that create peace of mind. This way there is no he said / she said miscommunications and misunderstandings. Know what it is your are paying for and get it in writing!
Pricing is all over the place in our industry. To start we need to understand why the pricing is so out of whack.
1. Some companies will do what is called "situational pricing". This is where they will charge less or more depending on the date and how busy they are on that date already. This results in people paying less, or more for the exact same services (sometimes on the exact same date) all depending on when they booked.
2. Some use "seasonal pricing" where you pay more or less for the exact same services just depending on when your date is (i.e. high season/low season). This is based on the idea that a cake is just a cake until you tell them that it is for a wedding.
3. Some do this on the side and just charge whatever the gear rental costs are and whatever they can get away with to book the date.
4. None of these I personally agree with or would like happening to me. For this reason we use the "consistent pricing" model. This is where we have a flat package rates year round for any and all events. This pricing model also requires us to post our packages and pricing to be transparent of this fact. Now I am not saying that any of these are right or wrong, good or bad, the model we use just works for us. After all why would we want to add more hoops, steps, hassles or stress to a process that is supposed to be fun?!
Know what and why you are being charged what you are being charged. Are there any applicable discounts? The more you know the better you will feel about your choice and the price of it.
Once you have your pricing and are ready for comparison, evaluate the average cost of all of them. Some will be high, some will be low however there will always be an average. This is the number you should be budgeting around. From there you can now choose which ones within that range offers the equipment and services you are looking for. Using the rest of these tips, you should be able to confidently choose the DJ for you!
As soon as you know who you want entertaining your event, book them! Great DJ's and companies book out fast! The old rule of booking your services a year out, is no longer enough time, especially for summer weekend dates. Know that most DJ's and companies do not hold dates. Confirm how much availability is remaining for your date and book in as early as possible to avoid last-minute disappointments. Once you are booked in, stop looking! Trust in your decision making process. If you have any questions or concerns just contact your DJ and I am sure you will see that you did indeed choose well!
Keep in mind that planning a wedding is a matter of consistently managing changes. You may find that you require other services as you get closer to your date. Things like projectors and screens, music mash-ups, emcee services, ceremony services, up-lighting, etc. It is far easier to deal with one company than needing to hire yet another one. Make sure your DJ can provide you with things you might not even know you need, or want yet.
Getting clear in what you are looking for in your Dj services is the first step. Next is asking better questions to collect the best information. Finally! Make sure they are FUN!! This is supposed to the the FUN people you are inviting to your event to get everyone else having fun! Never forget or neglect that part!
What is the backup plan?! The best part about hiring a company over a single DJ is that companies will often have more gear and DJs! As the saying goes, the show must go on! So how is your DJ going to guarantee your services? What is the backup plan to the backup plan? I hope this guide informational and that it helps you in choosing your perfect Wedding DJ!
If you want to hire Calgary's best in class DJ service with more than 25 years experience, consider hiring vegasthedj.com. Turning memorable into unforgettable!